Baez and Victorino in Action at Riverview

Shane Victorino (calf strain) singled twice and doubled and Javy Baez (thumb contusion) belted an RBI double and scored a run in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game on Field #5 was called after 5-1/2 innings, and the game on Field #6 was stopped after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

The game on Field #5 started and ended before the game on Field #6, allowing Victorino to move between the four teams and the two fields and collect a total of five Plate Appearances (P-2, 2B, 1B, 1B, E-4). He also stole a base and was caught stealing.

Baez played LF for two innings in the game on Field #6 and batted three times, once in each of the first three innings. He belted a double off the LF fence and scored in the 1st, flied out to the warning track in LF in the 2nd (a 12-pitch AB), and was hit on the helmet in his third PA (but left the field under his own power).

The #4 starters for the four Cubs full-season affiliates (Pierce Johnson, Tyler Skulina, Erick Leal, and Carson Sands) were the starting pitchers in the two games. The four were left behind to get their scheduled work when their teammates left town yesterday.      

In Minor League Camp roster news, C Erick Castillo was moved-up to Myrtle Beach from Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) and OF Trey Martin was sent to Extended Spring Training (injury rehab) from Myrtle Beach, 1B-OF Kelly Dugan and RHP Cole Brocker were moved-down to Extended Spring Training from AA Tennessee, and RHP Pedro Araujo, RHP Kyle Miller, LHP Jose Paulino, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier, and RHP Alexander Santana were moved-down to Extended Spring Training from South Bend.  

A total of 15 players have arrived at Minor League Camp from the Cubs Dominican Academy over the past few days, including INF Aramis Ademan, INF Jhonny Bethencourt, RHP Hector Garcia, OF Jose Gonzalez, RHP Jose Leidenz, 3B Rafael Mejia, SS Rafael Narea, LHP Pablo Ochoa, LHP Eugenio Palma, SS-2B Yeiler Peguero, SS Yonathan Perlaza, OF Ruben Reyes, OF Abraham Rodriguez, RHP Andri Rondon, and OF Jonathan Sierra, and they will be participating in Cubs Extended Spring Training.     

Here are the box scores from the two games: 


X. Shane Victorino, DH: 1-2 (P-2, 2B, R)
NOTE: Victorino led-off the top of the 3rd and top of the 4th innings
1. Luis Ayala, CF: 0-3 (K, K, L-6)
2. Rafael Narea, SS: 1-2 (BB, 2B, K, R, RBI)
3. Chris Pieters, 1B: 1-2 (1B, F-9)
4. Ricardo Marcano, 3B: 0-2 (4-6-3 DP, K)
5. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 1-2 (2B, F-8, R, SB)
6. Eric Gonzalez, LF: 0-3 (K, F-9)
7. Marcus Mastrobuoni, C-DH 0-2 (K, K)
8. Ruben Reyes, RF: 0-2 (F-7, 4-3)
9. Tyler Pearson, DH-C: 0-2 (F-8, P-3)

X. Shane Victorino, DH: 1-1 (1B, SB)
NOTE: Victorino batted 4th in the bottom of the 5th inning
1. Jose Gonzalez, CF: 1-3 (1B, E-3, F-9) 
2. Yonathan Perlaza, SS: 1-3 (K, K, 3B, R)
3. Yohan Matos, LF: 1-2 (P-3 DP, F-7 SF, 1B, 2 RBI)
4. Kevin Zamudio, 1B: 0-3 (F-9, L-4, K)
5. Rafael Mejia, 3B: 1-3 (1B, F-9, K)
6. Kwang-Min Kwon, RF: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
7. Gustavo Polanco, C-DH: 0-2 (4-3, 6-4 FC, R)
8. Miguel Amaya, DH-C: 0-0 (BB, BB, R)
9. Yeiler Peguero, 2B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, RBI)

Pierce Johnson: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 6 K, 2 WP, 2/6 GO/AO, 95 pitches (57 strikes) 

Erick Leal: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 2/8 GO/AO, 82 pitches (55 strikes) 

1B Chris Pieters: E-3 (two-base fielding error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)


Gustavo Polanco: 1 PB


X-1. Javier Baez, LF: 1-2 (2B, F-7, HBP, R, RBI)
NOTE: Baez batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings 
X-2 Aramis Ademan, PR: NO AB
NOTE: Ademan ran for Baez in the 3rd after HBP 
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 1-4 (K, 4-3,1B, F-9, RBI, SB)
2. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 2-4 (1B, 2B, K, 4-3, R)
3. Ricardo Marcano, DH-LF: 0-2 (F-9, K, BB)
4. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 0-4 (5-3, 5-3, F-8, E-6)
5. Alex Bautista, RF: 1-4 (1B, K, K, 4-6-3 DP, RBI)
6. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-4 (3-U, 2B, 4-3, 5-3)
7. Vimael Machin, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, 6-3)
8. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-2 (6-4-3 DP, 5-4 FC, BB)
9. Abraham Rodriguez, DH #2: 1-2 (BB, 3B, 6-3, R, CS)

X. Shane Victorino, DH: 1-2 (1B, E-4, CS)
NOTE: Victorino led-off bottom of the 1st and 2nd innings
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-3 (F-7, 3B, 1-3, BB)
2. Jhonny Bethencourt, SS: 1-4 (F-7, K, 2B, F-8)
3. Kevonte Mitchell, RF: 0-3 (K, F-9, 3-U, BB, CS)
4. Kelly Dugan 1B: 0-2 (BB, 3-1, 3-U, BB, R, SB)
5. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (BB, F-8, F-8, 2B, RBI)
6. Michael Foster, LF: 2-3 (1B, 1B, BB, F-9 DP)
7. Sutton Whiting, 2B: 0-3 (4-3 DP, E-3, K)
8. Tyler Payne, C: 0-2 (L-8, BB, K)

1. Carson Sands: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 3 WP, 4/6 GO/AO, 88 pitches (47 strikes) 
2. Junior Marte: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 0/2 GO/AO, 43 pitches (18 strikes)

1. Tyler Skulina: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 6/1 GO/AO, 88 pitches (54 strikes) 
2. Jose Paulino: 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 6/2 GO/AO, 42 pitches (27 strikes) 

1. 2B Vimael Machin: E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 1B Alberto Mineo: E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 

SS Jhonny Bethancourt: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 

Jhonny Pereda: 2-3 CS 

Tyler Payne: 1-2 CS 

RF Alex Bautista - runner doubled off 2nd base 9-6 


WEATHER: Sunny with temperarures in the 80's 


Thanks for the update! Are any of those Dominican players especially heralded or potential-laden to your knowledge?

Ademan, Perlaza and Sierra were all big money signings this summer. Peguero and Mejia had nice seasons as 17-year-olds last year in the DSL. Bethancourt was the Cubs best hitter in the VSL as an 18-year-old (still his 1st season in the league). I believe Narea was the Cubs highest paid IFA signee in 2014 when they were restricted to no more than $250,000 per player.

Unlike the 2013-14 International Signing Period when the Cubs signed the consensus top two IFA players (OF Eloy Jimenez and SS Gleyber Torres), the Cubs did not sign any Baseball America Top 10 rated IFA in this signing period. 

However, OF Eddy Julio Martinez ($3M signing bonus) was rated one of the Top 5 Cuban prospects, and, SS Aramis Ademan ($2M bonus) , SS Yonathan Perlaza, and C Miguel Amaya ($1.2M bonus) were rated in the Top 25 (not including Cuba), and OF Jonathan Sierra (who got a $2.5M bonus) and RHP Jose Albertos ($1.5M bonus) were not rated in the BA Top 25. 

per Jesse Rogers....
Tom Ricketts admitted some progress in talks with Theo Epstein regarding a new contract. No timetable but they're getting close.

Ownership stake?

Democratic superdelegate?

Maybe Laura will give hers up.

Phil, do you have a feel for who will be the fifth starters at Myrtle, and South Bend? Is Myrtle going with Hedges again, and if so does he have any velocity or big-league potential, or mostly just a rotation filler? Or are they going with one of the finesse lefties, Ihrig or Thorpe or one of those type guys? Is Ryan McNeil clearly going to be used in relief, or is there a chance they might give him a crack at rotation this year? (He had a lot of regularly scheduled 2-3 innings outings last year, a little long for a reliever, so I wondered whether last year was a controlled-usage year post-surgery, but this year they might give him a look in rotation?) I've kind of forgotten about Maples; was he hurt for part of last year, or just XST to try to get his delivery/control improved? Hard to fix a wild man, but he's certainly got enough arm if somehow they did. He and McNeil might both be interesting relief arms at Myrtle, guys who might surprise and pop. Any idea what's up with Jeremy Null, and how far behind he is? Surprised at Supelveda skipping to south Bend. Is he very interesting as a major-league prospect? Strictly a singles hitter, or does he have some snap in BP or a frame that looks like it could add power? strictly a utility guy, or does he have some flash with the glove and agility that might be conducive to SS? I thought Paulino would likely make South Bend. Does he look like the next-in-line, other than Cease? I'm imagining a scenario where Preston Morrison handles South Bend pretty easily, and get bumped to Myrtle in late May, then Cease or Paulino being promotion candidates. Or, perhaps if Kellog also pitched well, and both Kellogg and MOrrision got bumped up, then perhaps both Cease and Paulino would go to South Bend?

Wow! A short story question!

CRAIG: Good to hear from you! 

Jeremy Null was slowed a bit with arm fatigue during Minor League Camp and could not get stretched-out in time for the start of regular season, which is why he was left behind at EXST. I would presume once he is stretched-out he will be the #5 starter at Myrtle Beach.  

In the meantime, Zach Hedges was moved back into the Myrtle Beach rotation toward the end of Minor League Camp, although I suspect his eventual role will be as a "piggy-backer" and #6 (emergency) starter. Hedges' stuff is not exceptional, and I'm not sure how far he will get beyond Hi-A.  It's possible that Thorpe could replace Hedges as a rotation starter, because Thorpe is essentially a left-handed version of Hedges.   

Ryan McNeil's velocity is back but his command comes & goes, and so I believe he will be used as a low-leverage reliever for a while longer. I think the Cubs would very much like McNeil to return to the starting rotation as he was pre-TJS, but for now he's primed as a two-inning reliever. 

Tyler Ihrig is sort of a younger version of Jeffry Antigua, the kind of pitcher who can throw just about every day and pitch multiple innings when needed. He has that "Bugs Bunny" slow curve that takes forever to get to the plate. He moved around the organization last year, and probably will again (Have Left Arm, Wil Travel). I see him as a future pitching coach  

Dillon Maples has a 94 MPH fastball and a hammer curve that he uses as a chase pitch, but he sometimes loses confidence in his fastball because there is no decption with it, and then if he does get hit, he starts throwing the heater high & outside and he walks the world. His velocity has not increased or decreased since the first time I saw him four years ago, and his curve is a real wipeout pitch (and always has been)... IF HE CAN SET IT UP BY COMMANDING HIS FASTBALL.  

Actually, I was a bit surprised that Kellogg and Morrison were moved so quickly down to South Bend, because they both started Minor League Camp with the AA Tennessee group and appeared headed for Mytrle Beach. That said, both had a couple of very good outings and a couple of very bad outings, and given the fact that both were just drafted last year, I guess I can see why they are beginning the season at South Bend rather than at Myrtle Beach. Also, although Kellogg went to Arizona State, he is from Canada (he pitched for the Team Canada junior team), and so he probably can handle Midwest Aprils better than the others in the rotation. 

As for the South Bend rotation, it should be Morrison-Steele-Alzolay-Sands-Kellogg (at least that's the way it was the last week of Minor League Camp) with Twomey and Bloomquist stretched-out as starters but likely working as "piggy-backers." However, either Twomey or Bloomquist could get moved into the rotation sooner rather than later. I don't think the Cubs are in any hurry to bring Oscar de la Cruz up to South Bend, because he isn't even throwing bullpens right now (although Underwood is). 

Jose Paulino was outstanding in the intrasquad game yesterday at Riverview, with the hard breaking ball and 92-94 MPH fastball with movement on full display. With Paulino it's all about command (which comes & goes), and the Cubs had moved him to the bullpen while he was with the South Bend group last month, but it looks like he's getting stretched-out now that he's been left behind in Mesa. Paulino was the last cut from the South Bend staff and thus could be the first in line to get moved-up. 

As you know, the Cubs have gone heavy into Mexico over the laast 18 months, and Carlos Sepulveda was the first Mexican position player they signed in the 2014-15 IFA. He was the #1 overall pick in the Mexican Pacific League Draft post-2014, but gave up a chance to play winter ball in Hermosillo to sign with the Cubs. Once he got to Mesa, the Cubs found out he had a stronger arm than might be expected from a 2nd baseman, and so he got reps at shortstop as well, but his best position (by far) is 2B.  He is a very smart player (high "baseball IQ") , sort of an Albert Almora type. Very mature, high-motor, fundamentally sound, has a plan when he comes to bat, makes the savvy play on defense, and runs the bases very well (although he has just average speed). You would never know he is 19.   

Attention Parachatters: The sounds function has returned. (Sent sound: Thunder!) And the ads are gone! Enjoy.


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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 13 min ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.


  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 14 min ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 


  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 35 min ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  


  • bradsbeard 11 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 


  • Craig A. 12 hours 43 min ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 


  • bradsbeard 16 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 


  • crunch 17 hours 28 min ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).


  • crunch 18 hours 5 min ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.


  • crunch 18 hours 11 min ago (view)



  • crunch 18 hours 15 min ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.


  • Charlie 18 hours 22 min ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).


  • crunch 18 hours 25 min ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.


  • crunch 18 hours 25 min ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.


  • crunch 18 hours 28 min ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.


  • Charlie 18 hours 31 min ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.


  • crunch 18 hours 32 min ago (view)

    Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...